Competency Requirements


Competency requirements and their role in producing, analysing, developing and operating safety-critical systems


Many aspects of a system require personnel to have particular training, skills, knowledge and experience.

The most careful competency requirements are sometimes found to relate only to a subset of the stakeholders, ingoring some or all of the operators, auditors, assessors, maintainers, developers and other roles in a safety-critical system.

AS 61508 "Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems" makes very general statements about competency, providing guidance that as the Safety Integrity Level (SIL) increases, so do the competency requirements and the need for relevance of experience and domain knowledge.

Why?

Because in both the Westralia fire and Flixborough cyclohexane explosion, the competency of the personnel for their roles was questioned.

Fix?

Training is one means of improving the competency of personnel.